The recent superstorm on the East Coast sent flood waters running through shore towns like rivers. Houses and businesses were destroyed, and lives were lost. There is no way to go back and prevent the damage; it can only be dealt with now. The storm left lasting impressions on millions, and it reminded us that important safety precautions should never be overlooked.
Many people’s cars and other vehicles were flooded in the storm, and it’s certainly a situation that most haven’t dealt with before. In the event that your car gets damaged in a flood, here are the things you should to handle it.
Do not delay in contacting your car insurance company if you have coverage for flood damage. In general, comprehensive plans will cover flood damage, but liability plans will not. If lots of people experience flood damage at once, like with Sandy, it can take a long time before an insurance adjuster can get out to see yours. Calling ASAP will help speed up the process. If you are not covered, try contacting FEMA (if applicable) for possible assistance.
After calling the insurance company, there are a few things you should do right away. First, take pictures of your car. You want to document all of the damage in clear photographs. Next, do what you can to protect your car from more damage. For example, if the windows are broken, cover your car with a tarp to prevent more water from getting inside.
If possible, do NOT start your vehicle in order to move it or for any other reason. Starting a flooded car can increase the damage. If you really need to move your car, however, look closer to see if doing so is safe. If the seats of your car are dry, then the most important parts under the hood may be dry, too. Take out the air filter to see if it’s dry. If it is wet, do NOT start your car.
If your damage is covered by insurance, then your insurance adjuster will help you through the process of taking it to a shop to get fixed, if it is salvageable. If you do not have coverage, do not try to fix and dry things yourself. You need the help of car professionals. If you interior is wet, don’t try to dry it out yourself. Professionals will need to disassemble your car to dry what they can and replace what they can’t, and thoroughly inspect the car for damage. If you don’t get the moisture dealt with professionally, you car will be susceptible to mold, mildew, and rust.
If your car isn’t salvageable, you’ll need to scrap it. Do not try to sell your car by being dishonest about flood damage. Contact numerous scrap yards, and sell it to the highest bidder. For a tax deduction instead of cash, contact nonprofits that take car donations to see if they’re interested.
Julie Myers works with Nissan in the sales department. Visit the Nissan website for information on their great deals.